Feds: Condo held almost 227 grams of cocaine
DENVER – A 67-year-old Aspen woman’s alleged role in a drug-trafficking network is revealed in court documents introduced Monday that say federal agents found nearly 227 grams of cocaine at her condominium in May.
Joan Anastasi, who faces the possibility of a prison sentence of up to 20 years because of the amount of cocaine that was seized, has reached a plea agreement with the federal government by which she’ll be sentenced to 10 months of home detention at her Hunter Creek condominium.
The plea agreement, filed in U.S. District Court of Denver, says Anastasi also has agreed to pay $50,000 to the U.S. government upon the sale of her condominium. The government already had taken to steps to seize the condo, and Anastasi cannot sell it without the government’s permission, the agreement says. She also faces three years of supervised release.
In exchange for her guilty plea to one count of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, the prosecution agreed to drop two identical charges. The plea deal hinges on the approval of Judge Marcia S. Krieger, who will review the agreement at a sentencing hearing scheduled May 30.
Anastasi is one of six Aspen-area residents and four Southern California men indicted by a federal grand jury on April 19, 2011. Nine of the 10, including the six locals, were arrested by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration and aiding agencies exactly one month later. One of the defendants from California remains a fugitive.
Dispositions have been or are close to being reached in all of the cases, with no trials scheduled. Suspected ringleader Wayne Alan Reid, 65, of Aspen, is scheduled to appear in Denver federal court Thursday for a hearing in which his lawyer has said he will plead guilty to conspiracy charges. Anastasi’s plea agreement says Reid sold her the cocaine for redistribution. Reid also admitted to selling her the coke, according to the agreement.
“At trial, the Government would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (Anastasi) conspired with Wayne Reid, and others, both known and unknown to the government, to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances,” the agreement says.
Anastasi’s plea agreement also suggests she will work with the prosecution in its investigation. “(Anastasi) agrees that she will at all times give complete, truthful and accurate information and testimony and that she will fully and truthfully disclose all information with respect to the activities of herself and others concerning all matters about which the Government inquires,” the agreement says.
Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Denver, declined comment Tuesday about Anastasi’s potential testimony against other defendants. He did, however, say her home-detention sentence – in contrast to a maximum of two decades behind bars – is “not unusual.”
“In this case she took responsibility for her actions and that takes the sentencing down,” he said.
In a related development Tuesday, 42-year-old Valentin Barrios of Los Angeles agreed to plea guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors are seeking 52 months of imprisonment for Barrios.
Barrios also agreed to forfeit $29,200 in currency that was seized by the feds. According to a plea agreement for Barrios, he sold “kilogram quantities” of cocaine to another defendant, Alfonso Elvio-Allocati, in the Los Angeles area. Elvio-Allocati, in turn, sold the coke to Reid, the agreement says.
In the meantime, if Anastasi does get sentenced to home detention, she will wear an ankle bracelet hooked to a telephone line, and she won’t be allowed to leave her residence unless it is for court-authorized visits with her probation officer, or medical appointments, Dorschner said. She might also be allowed to leave home for work, he said.
The amount of cocaine agents found at Anastasi’s apartment – 226.9 grams, roughly the equivalent of half a pound – is not in dispute, based on the plea agreement, which was signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele R. Korver, Anastasi and her defense lawyer James Jenkins of Boulder. Jenkins was out of his Boulder office Tuesday and unavailable for comment.
DEA agents executed a search warrant on her home the day of her arrest, and seized the coke which was “stored in various containers throughout the defendant’s condominium,” the agreement says.
After the DEA made the bust last year, it said it had dismantled a drug trafficking ring that had run cocaine between Aspen and Los Angeles for 15 years. The indictment says that from July 2010 through April, the defendants conspired to own and sell more than 11 pounds of cocaine.
Much of the DEA’s case hung on information provided to it by the confidential informant. Court records show that in March 2010, a woman approached the FBI office in Glenwood Springs about drug trafficking activity out of Aspen. The woman was close to Reid, and she was paid to feed information to agents over the course of a probe that lasted for more than one year.
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